BHS girls place seven in top 13 to win league
For a brief second, Mike Spielman thought he was going to see a repeat of last year’s Frontier League cross country meet here last Thursday.
That moment of déjà vu didn’t last long.
Spielman’s BHS girls’ varsity team scored 32 points a year ago at the league meet. The Bulldogs totaled the same amount last week, but there was no reason to look at the sixth runner for team scoring.
Baldwin hung on to win the league championship as De Soto scored 38 this year. Baldwin recaptured its title that was lost last year after winning the previous 10 league meets.
“It’s the same deal as the boys,” Spielman said. “It’s kind of a weird deal when I totaled up the points and saw that we had 32. That was the number we scored last year, but we lost on the tie breaker. Just watching the race, I knew 32 was a pretty good score. We had seven in the top 13 and that’s tough to beat.”
If the teams would have tied, Baldwin had the tiebreaker this year. Junior Julie Hill was Baldwin’s sixth runner last Thursday and she was one place behind freshman Elizabeth Sigvaldson, Baldwin’s fifth runner.
“I’m glad we are starting a new streak, because we ruined it last year,” senior Corinna Papps said. “It’s good to get the title back.”
Papps led Baldwin with a fourth-place finish. She was followed closely by fellow senior Calleigh Durr, who finished seven seconds behind her.
The pair of Bulldogs almost caught De Soto’s second runner, Lacey Erickson. They ran together all race and Papps said that helped her run well.
“It’s really awesome,” Papps said. “We just kept pushing each other and we knew we had to do that or we weren’t going to do well. That helped a lot.”
Spielman said the senior duo has been leading the team all season.
“Calleigh and Corinna are doing a great job up there,” Spielman said. “Everybody else has been filling in right behind them. That’s what it takes to be able to get up to the front.”
They were both followed closely by junior Connor Twombly. She placed sixth, just nine seconds behind Durr. The next three Bulldogs nearly came in together.
They were sophomore Heather Karlin (eighth), Sigvaldson (ninth) and Hill (10th). Freshman Abi Hartzell rounded out the Bulldogs’ roster with a 13th-place finish.
“She had her best race by far,” Spielman said of Sigvaldson. “Both of the freshman girls have just gotten better and better. They started out back there, but now they’re closing in on the pack. That gives us a chance to fill in a spot if someone doesn’t feel good or has a bad race.”
Papps was also proud of the freshmen’s performance.
“I think we ran really well,” Papps said. “The freshmen definitely stepped up for us. They did really awesome and I’m really proud of them.”
Ever since the Rim Rock meet on Sept. 27, Spielman has noticed a different attitude in his girls’ team.
“I’ll tell you what, ever since KU the have just stepped it up and the pack has been getting better and better,” Spielman said. “They are running well and they have a lot of confidence right now. They just go out there and run well.
“We’ve got a nice pack and they’re all really close together so no one feels any added pressure if someone else has a bad race,” he said. “We are able to cover up for that. They are just doing a great job.”
BHS also won the junior varsity girls’ race. Junior Misty Emery won the race while senior Hannah Sigvaldson placed runner-up. Also running the JV race was junior JaBryanna Wellington (fifth) and freshman Carol Whaley (14th).
Baldwin will run at the Class 4A regional at 3 p.m. Saturday. The meet is being held at Wyandotte County Park, which is off Kansas Highway 7 and is located near Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Baldwin and De Soto will square off once again before they both probably compete at the state meet Nov. 1.
“If you look at things and how both teams are running, we are probably two of the top teams in the state,” Spielman said. “It’s been a good battle for us all along.”